I have recently come to the conclusion that I am perpetually anxious, worried and over all scared.
Life terrifies me, to be perfectly honest. It is not something that I have ever acknowledged, though.
To even write that makes me a little anxious, truthfully. I have heard time and again how brave I am, courageous even. Does a brave person deal with anxiety, do they worry about every little thing? Am I completely wrecking people’s perception of me by writing these words?
Facts are facts though. And despite me feeling the things that I feel, I don’t have a choice but to live life and do things that scare the fuck out of me.
Which brings me to today’s quote, and it once again fits my current life situations well.
“Either life entails courage or it ceases to be life.”E.M. Forster
This year has brought a lot of things that I have suppressed to the forefront of my consciousness. I didn’t know I had suppressed so much; I didn’t know that I was in denial about things that I feel and things that I have been through. I thought that I was mentally healthy because I am a functioning member of society.
I’ve discovered that you can function just fine without being ‘okay’.
Without going into a whole lot of detail, I was recently faced with a situation that dredged up some shit from my childhood that I was unaware was an issue for me. I was faced with an anxiety trigger in the middle of a workday, and while I was somehow able to get through the day without completely losing my shit, I did have a fairly intense melt down after work. I wasn’t impressed with my reaction. I was annoyed at myself and how I lashed out at others.
Hard truths, y’all. I just shoved that shit down and ignored it, and when one does that it tends to come out at real inconvenient times. Had I acknowledged it years ago, perhaps I could have avoided having such a strong reaction to an adverse situation at such a truly shitty time.
Live and learn.
I acknowledged that I deal with a level of anxiety this summer and have suppressed issues from my childhood. I’ve found a few ways to try and cope with all of this while maintaining my life as it is. I don’t want to see a therapist, nor do I want medication. I honestly don’t think that either is necessarily needed. I have the idea that I can cope with these issues in the same way that I have approached my life as a whole – If I use knowledge and humor to my advantage, I should be able to come through on the other side just fine. So, I’ve spent some time studying – some things that I naturally gravitate to are a huge help. Music and words, aromatherapy, deep breathing, yoga. . . I’ve added meditation and some study on the balancing of Chakras . . . Sophia and I joke that when I have a bad day, my Chi is all fucked up. I joke about it because I never pictured myself taking this kind of shit serious, but as I have studied these things I have come to the whole hearted conclusion that your soul can be off kilter and it can fuck everything else up as a result. It brings new meaning to the idea of something irritating one’s soul.
What I’ve discovered is that I’ve had the tools, I just didn’t know how they worked in tandem to create a more peaceful wellbeing. It seems to be working.
The other day I forgot all that I have learned and instead I had this melt down. I ended up realizing what I was doing and was able to recenter myself, but my initial reaction was not fantastic.
Realizing this is growth though. Realizing the trigger, acknowledging the anxiety, recognizing that my reaction sucked. . . all of it. Growth. Growth is painful and ugly, guys. But I’m real glad that I do have room to grow still, that in suppressing all this shit that I haven’t stunted myself in who I can become as a person.
Sometimes memories surface that I previously would shove back down into my subconscious, and now I sit with them a while. I turn them about in my head and see how I feel about them. I acknowledge the uncomfortable way that they make me feel. If it causes me sadness, I allow myself to be sad. If it brings about feelings of anger, I allow that as well. I have every right to feel sad and angry about a lot of the things that have happened in my life. So, I allow myself to feel these things, where before I just tried to move past the memories and feelings. Initially, doing this does cause anxiety. But in order to move forward I need to free myself of these things. The only way to do that is acknowledge that certain things happened and what I feel about them.
My Zen as Fuck journal asked me yesterday, “What is holding you back?” and the answer is 100% fear. Fear of failing, fear of letting people down, fear of not living up to expectations, fear of being hurt. . . and the need to always be badass. If I don’t try, therefore I can’t fail, I can’t let anyone down, and I certainly cannot be hurt. And if I always put on this front of being a bad ass, then I’m not letting anyone in, I’m not allowing anyone to see me for who I really am. . .
I wrote in a previous post that the most badass thing that one can do is to admit their vulnerable spots, to acknowledge their own feelings and short comings. To let people in is brave as fuck. To allow someone access to these parts of yourself and make yourself vulnerable to the hurt that could be caused in their rejection. . . that’s true courage.
I know this to be a fact because the anxiety I feel at the prospect of letting someone in.
If you’re scared, and you do it anyway. . .
To look inward and admit where you need work, to dig deep and acknowledge the tender spots, the places that are scarred and bruised. . . to heal a wound, you must tend to it. That also takes courage.
But if you are not courageous enough to admit your faults and shortcomings, to admit what scares the ever-living fuck out of you, how are you going to really live life? That’s what this quote is really about.
For years I was able to function and conquer life without admitting these things. I have come real far from where I started, and I guess that’s where people say that I am brave and courageous and what not.
But I had come to a standstill because I wasn’t living as true to myself as I could have been.
My ability to shove things down and move past them was a blessing, for a while. My Scarlett O’Hara mentality of, “tomorrow is another day,” was beneficial for where I was at in life up until recently.
I thought, maybe someday I can sit down with my thoughts and feelings and sort them out. The litany of loss and abuse that I’ve encountered, the ugly things that people have said and done. I thought that like sleep, I’d have time to sit down and catch up. But much like sleep, you can never truly ‘catch up’. It just sits there and festers until one day you’re paralyzed with exhaustion. Until one day you’re having a panic attack over something seemingly small – an encounter with a situation that wouldn’t bother a normal person.
So now I meditate, and I do yoga. I concentrate on doing the things that make me the happiest, the things that calm my mind and soul. I’m not beyond having a melt down just yet. . . but I can recognize it for what it is. Before I would explode and argue with the first person that crossed my path. I’d scream and yell and throw things, because I didn’t know how to release the pent-up anxiety I was feeling. For fucks sake I didn’t even know it was anxiety, I just knew that I felt something that made me want to scream. So, I did.
Now I know to breathe and do something repetitive to clear my mind. After my most recent melt down I found myself sitting in front of the canned goods in my kitchen, sorting and organizing them. It worked.
That, and talking about it. Acknowledging that what I felt was a result of pent up feelings and fears.
Even as I write this, I’m having to stop and pace a little, close my eyes and take deep breaths.
I’ll tell you, growth isn’t easy, folks. It takes patience and courage. But I know I wouldn’t get to where I am destined to be if I didn’t allow myself to heal and move forward.
Happy Sunday. Look inward. Acknowledge what you find. Grow, and live.